< Piro >
Monday - November 22, 2004
[please note that this rant is refering to Monday's "Leave it to Seraphim" comic, not today's Chapter 6 comic. - piro]
I've already received several angry emails this morning berating me for taking cheap stabs at their country by bringing up boring, stupid stereotypes. Before I say more, I will say this - if you were offended by today's comic, I sincerely apologize. It was not our intent to make fun of anyone but ourselves. That is why the stereotypes are rather lame and silly. I understand that some people do get the point made in the last frame and understand what the point is, but are offended anyway... If that is the case, then I think you are being unfair.
The whole point of the comic deals with how even those of us who may feel we are enlightened and really smart about the rest of the world are often victim of built in stereotypes that we may not realize we carry around. Most of the time these stereotypes exist because of something we saw in a movie (for example, for most Americans, the limit of their exposure to things Australian is Paul Hogan and The Croc Hunter). Sure, these are easy to spot stereotypes, the ones used in todays comic (which is why they were used. These were not used to gain cheap laughs, please stop emailing me accusing me of this). What this is is a jab at the ignorance of people who feel that they understand the world based on limited knowledge.
It's one thing to simply think that Canada is always cold because, well, its up North (please. I live in in Michigan, we have the exact same weather patterns.) It's one think to think this. Imagine how bad it would be if Americans decided that we needed to do something about all that cold weather in Canada, for the good of the Candian people, to free them from the perpetual cold?
Japanese comics are full of bad stereotypes about Americans. For example, there is that wonderful Kimagure Orange Road episode where Kyosuke and Madoka are terrified because they are in America, and that the people around them might have guns (we all carry guns here in America, right?) Then there is the rather irritating instance of the blond, buxom, cowboy-hat wearing, American flag bikini wearing model in the Sgt. Frog manga. All Americans wear cowboy hats, right?
The roundabout point of all of this is how I sometimes wonder how the Japanese feel about what Americans and the rest of the world think about them based on what people see in Anime and Manga. I'm not talking about the crowd that thinks Japan is just a nation of Pedophiles and oversexed fiends because they only see the sex and violence in anime, I'm talking about us, the more enlightened crowd. How do they feel when foreigners look at Japanese school girls based only on what they see in anime and manga? Are we capable of understanding this? Aren't these sterotypes too?
Personally, I'm more worried about what the rest of the world thinks about Americans than what us silly Americans think we know about the world. Even me, who I always like to think is very open minded, has found time and time again that there was some small stereotype that I believed that I never even realized had been imbedded in my brain. Makes you wonder sometimes.
Anyways, I am sorry if this offended anyone, I really am. No one has more respect for the rest of the world than Sarah and I do. MT really DOES have a global readership, and we are poking fun at ourselves here, not the rest of the world.